Wednesday, October 31, 2007

1-Star, Anyone?

Yesterday, I was talking to a fellow blogger friend about his blogging experiences. He is an aspiring writer with a pretty decent writing style (and a good sense of humour), and has contributed a piece or two to magazines (that I know of). He looks to blogging as a medium to improve his writing. So, I was very surprised when he suggested he was very demotivated, and was thinking of shutting down his blog.

When I asked why, he told me that this was because of the feedback he was getting. He has a gadget for ranking on his blog (rather like the stars I have in left sidebar), and there are some 15-20 people who have managed to put him down in the last 20% on quality.

He told me he was planning to take down the gadget, as he felt it was not a nice advertisement for his blog that so many people feel his blog is so bad. I told him he cannot do that. That is like taking away freedom of expression of his visitors, and as we all know, you cannot do that. In today's world, every person should be able to say how he feels about everything, for it is their right.

Secondly, he is not the one who is clicking on that gadget (at least, I assumed that in the interest of fairness). So all his shouting was like a kid who is not allowed to vote, ranting against the elected leaders in democracy. i.e. completely pointless.

What really got his goat was that none of those people wrote any comments or criticise him, which would help him improve his writing. I told him that he should be thankful that people took time from whichever site they frequent, to let other viewers know how they feel about his site. And he cannot expect them to take more time off to write him any comments. Because although it is the viewers' right to give him feedback, it is not their responsibility.

His other option was to stop writing the blog completely. I told him he should do that, because if so many people think he is not good, does he really believe that he can improve given time and practise? But then, if he continues writing, I would respect that too, if only for his stubbornness.

And now that the markets have spoken (in the words of US Presidential candidate Stephen Colbert), I am wondering whether I should stop visiting my friend's (well, he is more of an acquaint., to be precise) blog, even though I like his writing.

But that also prompted me to think about how we give feedback to somebody. In today's fast paced world, if you can rank somebody on a scale of 1-5 by just a click, is there any point writing any comments and giving any "constructive" criticism? Isn't constructive criticism an oxymoron anyway?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. In the interest of security (mine), some of the facts of this case might have been changed. I would suggest you not to go around hunting in my blogroll looking for the subject of this post.

Quote of The Day:
Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
- Christopher Hampton


Keshi said...

ur friend needs time off, realise what his real intentions and desires r, and then come bak if he wants to. :)


Anonymous said...

amey-chan, i didnt even know that u have that gadget.
i was just wondering why some ppl have it. hehehe
anywayz voted 5 stars for u.
trick or treat!

Amey said...

@Keshi: Well, he uses blog for polishing his ideas and articles. Which is why he wants feedback from others.

@Nikichan: Thanks... :D I guess 5 stars would mean it is a treat.

silverine said...

Tell your friend to relax and enjoy the freedom to express himself. Thats what blogging is about...not about accolades or spectacular writing...just plain old getting stuff off your chest.

Cuckoo said...

Your friend needs time to think about closing down the blog. First he should realize the motive of his blogging.
If he thinks he is blogging for others or as you said he's doing it for polishing his ideas then he should take the constructive criticism in his stride and try to learn from it.

Amey said...

@Silverine: Well, as I said, his take on blogging is more to do with improving his skills, which he feels will come in handy when he goes for more traditional jobs later on.

There are some of us who give him our feedback, but knowing him is always going to be different, than comments from total strangers.

@Cuckoo: The problem is people are not giving any criticism, or are giving what some called drive-by comments.
As I mentioned, the real problem he has is that people saw it fit to flame his blog by giving low ratings, but no one cared to give any comments/criticism there.

SiD said...

I dont know whether one shud take these ratings seriously or not.. what if someone is giving less rating just for the heck of it.. or is taking his /her frustration out on the blog.. who knows!!
may be he can make a sticky post saying bhai..rating dete ho to comment bhi de do...
otherwise if he thinks just writing in the blog is helping him in some way.. then he shud continue!!

Bennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bennie said...

I'd like a link to your friend's blog so I could be the judge...for myself-:)

Anyhow, since I'm new at blogging and all that, it took me awhile to figure out that if I clicked on your name, I'd end up here. Thanks for swinging by weeks ago and leaving me a comment on "A Bad Hair Day." That old hindu proverb is still going a long way:)

Next time you run into your friend, tell him that there's no point in writing if you can't annoy or excite somenone.
Have a great day!

Amey said...

@Sid: Yup, the consensus of our discussion was that it was the new way of flaming somebody. And sarcasm (poorly done in the post) apart, my advise to him was to take out the widget and rely on comments.

So now the question is, would you (and I mean all of you here) do something like this? Maybe at the other end of star-spectrum?

@Bennie: Oh, as I said, we have changed some facts of the case. The basic question for us was, if you don't like a blog (so much that you put 1-star rating on the blog) do you leave comments and criticise it?

By the way, welcome to my blog... Do check out my other posts, and do leave comments :D